Several treatments available for bruxism can alleviate symptoms and help prevent further damage. In this article, we will explain the various options available for bruxism treatment and discuss how you can effectively manage this condition.
What is Bruxism (Teeth Grinding)?
People who have the habit of clenching their teeth together or grinding their teeth (rubbing the teeth back and forth over one another) have bruxism. Nighttime bruxism is just as common as daytime bruxism. Clenching is more common than grinding in the former, but both can occur in the latter.
As mentioned, bruxism is a condition characterized by excessive teeth grinding or jaw clenching. It can lead to a variety of dental and physical problems, including tooth wear, jaw pain, headaches, and even TMJ disorders.
What are the types of bruxism?
There are two main types of bruxism:
Nighttime teeth grinding, also known as sleep or nocturnal bruxism, is defined by the activity of the masticatory muscles when the person is asleep. Insomniac and nocturnal bruxism are recognized as distinct conditions.
The view differs despite having a similar impact on the body. More people grind their teeth while awake than while sleeping.
Because sleep-related teeth grinding is so infrequently reported, diagnosing it can be challenging. People who sleep with their mouths open may clench and grind their teeth with as much as 250 pounds of force.
Involuntary teeth grinding, gnashing, or clenching that occurs during the daytime is known as awake bruxism or wakeful bruxism. Either consciously or subconsciously, this may occur.
At least a third of adults experience daytime bruxism. On the other hand, nearly everyone does it occasionally. Although Bruxism can affect people of any age, the peak prevalence is between the ages of 25 and 44.
How Common is Bruxism?
Sleep bruxism in young people is more common than bruxism in adults, including middle-aged and elderly people. Due to the fact that many people with sleep bruxism are unaware that they do so, accurate population estimates are difficult to obtain.
The prevalence of bruxism in youngsters is the most difficult to quantify. Researchers have observed that nightly tooth grinding affects anywhere from 6–49% of kids. Some newborns and toddlers may experience teeth grinding as early as the teeth begin to grow.
Now, children who suffer from sleep disturbances, including sleep talking, sleepwalking, or bedwetting, may be more likely to develop sleep bruxism.
Sleep bruxism is thought to affect about 15% of teenagers. Only about 3 percent of those over 60 are thought to clench or grind their teeth when sleeping, down from 8 percent of middle-aged adults.
Symptoms of Bruxism
Bruxism symptoms and signs can include:
- Teeth clenching or grinding loud enough to wake your sleeping mate.
- Worn-down dental enamel that exposes your tooth’s lower layers.
- Despite not being an ear issue, there is pain that feels like an earache.
- Increased sensitivity or pain in the teeth.
- Teeth that are loose, chipped, cracked, or flattened.
- Jaw muscles that are fatigued or tight, or a locked jaw that won’t fully open or close.
- Jaw pain or soreness, also in the neck or face.
- Dull headache with temple pain.
- Chewing on the inside of your cheek might cause damage.
- Interruption of sleep.
How is Bruxism Diagnosed?
A doctor or a dentist can diagnose sleep bruxism, although the diagnosis procedure may differ based on the kind of health care provider.
The most accurate approach to identify sleep bruxism is through polysomnography, an overnight sleep study. However, polysomnography can be pricey and time-consuming and may not always be necessary.
When a person has a variety of sleep complaints, polysomnography may be extremely helpful because it can detect other sleep issues, such as OSA (Obstructive sleep apnea).
For many people, the existence of signs of sleep bruxism, such as tooth damage and jaw pain, along with allegations of teeth grinding from a bed partner, may be enough to make the diagnosis.
Even while home observation tests are less reliable than polysomnography, they can be used to check for evidence of teeth grinding.
Treatment of Bruxism
You can find out which choice might be the most suitable for you by speaking to your dentist or doctor. The most popular bruxism treatment options for patients with sleep bruxism include the following:
Your doctor could offer advice on keeping or improving your teeth if you or your child clenches or grinds their teeth. Even though these techniques might stop or lessen tooth wear, they might not stop bruxism:
- Mouth guards/ Night guard and splints. Oral appliances are used to keep teeth apart in order to prevent damage from clenching and grinding. They go over your upper or lower teeth and might be made of soft materials or rigid acrylic.
- Dental adjustment. Your dentist might need to modify the chewing surfaces or use crowns for your teeth to correct the damage in severe situations where tooth wear has resulted in discomfort or the inability to chew effectively.
More research is required to assess the effectiveness of medicines as a general bruxism treatment method, but the following are some examples of drugs that can be used to treat bruxism:
- Muscle relaxants. In some circumstances, your doctor might advise using a muscle relaxant for a little time before bed.
- Botox injections. Some persons with severe bruxism who don’t react to other therapies may benefit from Botulinum Toxin Injections.
- Medication to treat stress or anxiety. Your doctor can advise using antidepressants or anti-anxiety drugs for a brief period of time to help you cope with stress or other emotional issues that could be the origin of your bruxism.
Habits to prevent Bruxism
Before getting a bruxism treatment, these self-care steps may prevent or help treat bruxism:
Avoid stimulating substances in the evening.
The following measures of self-care may be helpful in preventing bruxism or in treating it:
Practice good sleep.
Getting a full night’s rest, which may involve seeking therapy for sleep issues, has been shown to have a positive effect on bruxism.
Be open about it with your sleep partner.
If you have someone who sleeps with you, ask them to keep an ear out for any sounds of grinding or clicking that you might produce while you are asleep. This way, you will be able to report the issue to your dentist or doctor.
Go to your dentist regularly.
Bruxism can be diagnosed with a dental exam. Signs of teeth grinding, or bruxism, might be spotted by your dentist during routine checkups.
Stress and anxiety management
You can relax and lower your risk of bruxism by doing things like listening to music, taking a warm bath, or engaging in physical activity.
Massage and Jaw Exercises
Jaw exercises and massages aim to relieve tension in the facial muscles and strengthen the jaw muscles. Engaging in relaxation techniques, such as gentle jaw stretches and lateral movements, can help release muscle tension and reduce grinding tendencies. Additionally, massages can be performed using circular motions on the jaw area to alleviate muscle tightness and promote relaxation.
When Should You See a Doctor about Bruxism?
Since you’re unconscious when you do it, sleep bruxism can exacerbate existing dental issues. The teeth, jaw muscles, and jaw joints can all suffer from chronic tooth grinding that goes untreated, which can cause facial pain. If you wake up with a headache or jaw pain, you should be checked out by a doctor.
Why is Teeth Grinding Bad for Your Health?
Bruxism, which refers to uncontrollable teeth grinding, can cause a host of medical issues if left untreated. Your teeth could break or shatter, necessitating crowns or dental implants for repair. The tooth enamel could wear away, putting you at risk for periodontal disease and tooth loss.
Who is at Risk for Bruxism?
The risk factor of bruxism may be increased by using recreational drugs, drinking alcohol or caffeine-containing beverages, smoking cigarettes, or genetic factors. Also, people that have a family clinical history with a tendency to bruxism are at risk.
What Are the Consequences of Sleep Bruxism?
Mild bruxism typically doesn’t result in immediate significant issues. However, severe bruxism might result in the following:
- Damage to teeth, jaw, crowns, or restorations.
- Severe pain in the jaw or face.
- Headaches that feel tense.
- Temporomandibular joint disorders can cause a clicking sound when you open and close your mouth. The TMJs are placed right in front of your ears.
What Causes Bruxism?
The exact cause of bruxism is unknown. However, it may be a result of a mix of genetic, psychological, and physical factors.
Anxiety, stress, anger, irritation, or tension are some of the emotions that might cause bruxism when you’re awake. It might also be a habit or a coping mechanism used when concentrating intensely. In addition, a sleep-related chewing behavior connected to activity during sleep, or arousal, causes sleep bruxism.